US President Donald Trump called China’s policies toward US companies operating in the country “unlawful,” as he kicked off an investigation that threatens to spark a trade war between the two largest economies, the South China Morning Post reports. “We will stand up to any country that unlawfully forces American companies to transfer their valuable technology as a condition of market access,” Trump told reporters in Washington after signing a “Memorandum Addressing China’s Laws, Policies, Practices, and Actions Related to Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Technology.” Trump appeared with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who will direct the investigation, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. With US companies from Zippo, a maker of pocket lighters, to General Motors and Lockheed Martin having faced challenges related to counterfeiting and unauthorized technology transfers in China, Trump’s investigation has support from the US Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, the only criticism came from Democrats, who say the order doesn’t go far enough.
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